"How was the ASTD Conference?" There are thousands upon thousands of answers to that question, for the event is a nine-ring circus, and it's highly unlikely any two people take part in the same mix of activities.
The Conference took place at the new Washington Conference Center. It's a mammoth space, chock full of eye-catching art. Unfortunately, the layout is confusing and the signage terrible; I got lost four times. It was 90 degrees Fahrenheit outside; mercifully, the entrance to the Metro is right next to the building.
Unbeknownst to those who hung out in the non-pastoral, concrete neighborhoods of the District of Columbia, the Virginia and Maryland suburbs have been invaded by cicadas (AKA 17-year locusts). In the mornings, the air was filled with an ever-present whir, a dead ringer for the sound of the extraterrestials in The Day the Earth Stood Still.
These scary-looking little bugs are completely harmless. They don't sting or bite. They also have no fear or defense mechanisms because they don't live long enough to need them.
Note the orange eyes. Princeton celebrates cicadas because they are (usually) the school colors, orange and black. One in a hundred has blue eyes.
Here's the lifecycle of the cicada:
In my cousin Becky's neighborhood, you can no longer see the sidewalks for all the cicada bodies.
I know this is a great metaphor for something, but I haven't figured out what.
ASTD appears to be turning the corner after a bumpy ride for the last several years. The staff has rallied behind new president Tony Bingham and exhibits more spirit than I've seen in years. Membership is growing. ASTD reported a profit last year after two years of losses, digging itself out of a hole created by the recression, SARS, and lack of direction. Selling its headquarters building in Alexandria brought ASTD's cash position to a ten-year high.
At the Annual Membership Meeting, Tony said ASTD had put webinars on hold. People flocked to free webinars, but when there was a price tag associated with them, nobody came. I suggested that quality may be a factor in this. Elearing Guild has a successful webinar series that people pay for. However, they plan their events rather than throw things over the wall, expecting a consultant to put together a quality program for free.
The Expo Hall was filled with vendors. More importantly, there foot traffic was heavy, and many vendors were happy with the quality of the contacts they were making.
In the eLearning space, most of the big players showed up. The smaller eLearning specialities like LCMS vendors, specialized content, or small LMS vendors were MIA.
Accenture wins this year's award for Dorkiest Booth. "Don't you guys have deep pockets?" I asked. A fellow replied that their booth was in New Orleans. "What are you selling?" He told me outsourcing was the hot item. Accenture will do a little piece, perhaps designing a course, or take on the entire training function. I asked how many organizations had signed up for the full soup-to-nuts option. He told me Avaya. "And?" I asked. He said the market was young. Avaya is it. I'd gathered from this article in Learning Circuits that a lot more was going on. Perhaps I was misinformed.
DDI had the most talked-about booth. When you walked by, this large-screen cartoon character would engage you in conversation. "Like that red shirt!" or "Sounds like you're from Australia." He could pass the Turing Test (not being able to tell a computer from a human -- because he was animated by a man behind the curtain.
Before the big conferences, I advise vendors on how to present themselves, and one thing that struck me as particularly clever was the ability of the cartoon figure to qualify prospects. Imagine if this had been carried through to desktops in the booth, an apparently machine intelligence giving prospects a personalized sales pitch.
This sort of thing once made me laugh out loud. Now I'm more tolerant. If the manager who authorizes your budget is one of the millions who loved the book, you'd be a fool to pass this up.
Yes, those are antlers. His company gets the point across with zany theater. Lettuce entertain you.
The government of Taiwan brought out half a dozen vendors. Having produced many of the chips inside the computer you're reading this from, they'd like to put some software in there, too.
(Hello, Andy and Carrie!)
WASHINGTON, DC, May 25 /CNW/ - Ensemble Collaboration announced the official launch of the world's first Collaboration Management Framework at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C. last night at a private reception attended by over 350 learning experts. The company is launching the product in conjunction with its attendance at the American Society for Training and Development's International Conference and Exposition.
(Disclosure: I am a director of Ensemble.)
From ASTD reports:
|Norm Kamikow, president and editor-in-chief of Chief Learning Officer magazine.
CLO is thriving. Every other month it contains a spectacular column. (Disclosure: I write CLO's column on Effectiveness every other month.) The price is right; CLO is free.
More to come.
30 Poppy Lane
Berkeley, California 94708
1.510.528.3105 (office & cell)
Subscribe to this Blog
Our Infrequent Newsletter
Entries by category...
Recycled from Blogger
Internet Time Group
© 2004 Internet Time Group
Blogger Experience, Housekeeping, Something New
Demographics is destiny
Are you setting the bar high enough?
Work as Video Game
Oracle and Macromedia, Sitting in a Tree
ASTD Silicon Valley
Kingsbridge Conference Center
First Post by Email
RSS Feed for New Site
Testing ... testing ... 1...2..3
IT Doesn't Matter - Learning Does.
All blogging is political
Damn, damn, double damn
The New Religion
Wolf! Wolf! Wolf! Wolf! Wolf! Wolf!
Business Process Management (2)
Business Process Management Conference
Don't Lose a Common Sense: LISTEN
It's only natural
Go with the flow
Time Out for the Fair
Informal get-together in SF this Wednesday
Repetition, reverb, and echoes
Push vs pull
The Big Picture on ROI
New Community of Practice Forming
Training Directors Forum 2004
A Rare One-Liner
PlaNetwork LIVE 2
ASTD 2004 Leftovers
Worker Effectiveness Improvement, not KM
Jay's Talk at ASTD
Mintzberg & Cooperider
Lest ye forget
ASTD International Conference & Exposition 2004
What is Workflow Learning?
ASTD msg 1 of n
Look out, it's Outlook
Collaboration at ASTD Next Week
Tell me a story
The shortest presentation on metrics you will ever hear
Back to Blogger
The Alchemy of Growth
Very loosely coupled
E-Learning from Practice to Profit
Robin Good kicks off Competitive Edge
Emergent Learning Forum: Simulations
The Best Things in Life Are Free
Metrics and Web Services
OpEd: ROI vs. Metrics